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Commentary: Deasy-Style Reform Stresses Kids, Educators

Guest contributor | July 12, 2013

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This is a guest commentary from veteran Oklahoma City high school teacher John Thompson, who writes about school reform issues at the Huffington Post, This Week In Education, and other outlets:

angry-birds-illoNPR’s Rachel Martin, in Superintendent’s Effort To Do Right By His Kids, nailed the essence of LA Superintendent John Deasy’s zealotry, as well as the hubris that has distorted accountability-driven “reform.”

Deasy says that one of the things that keeps him up at night is worrying how quickly is he can make good on the promise he made to the youth in Los Angeles. He acknowledges that his rush to transform the schools imposes stress on teachers.  He doesn’t understand why everyone would not “get over” that stress.

Deasy warns that educators across the nation will soon be following his driven approach because, “LA is America,” and “we are coming to a hometown near you.”

Deasy closes his affirmation of stress-induced sleeplessness as a force for helping children with the claim, “the economic viability of LA in California is intrinsically linked to the ability for this country to move forward. And that is going to depend on whether I can live up to the promise of getting every single student college and career ready.”

However, Deasy is clueless about what is takes to overcome the educational legacies of poverty. The problem is intense concentrations of poverty and trauma, and the stress that they impose. Inner city schools need more stress like we need another gang war.

Deasy ignores the first rule of school improvement that, “the feces stress rolls downhill.” He and other high-profile accountability hawks are oblivious to the fact that their rush to “reform”  dumps extreme stress on adults, and that poison inevitably pollutes children’s schools. – JT (@drjohnthompson)

Originally posted at This Week In Education

Previous guest commentaries: Understanding “Common Core” Backlash;  Why Teachers Might Leave a Triggered SchoolWhy Fixing Teacher Prep is So DifficultTeachers’ Letter to Mayor Garcetti. Send guest commentary ideas or submissions to

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